Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Campaign Blackbeard


Behold the first draft cover for my upcoming novel, Campaign Blackbeard. Second in the War of the Vale series, it is another work of dark fantasy and political allegory, set in a possible future where some elements from our time period remain, but things are now mostly medieval. Like Red Noon at Helltowne, it should appeal to fans of fantasy, nationalism, heritage, and beautiful women, as well as those who oppose political correctness, mass immigration, globalism, and tyranny.

Let us know what you think of the cover so far! Feedback is welcome.




Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Hacks of Gorm, Part XII: You Have No Right to Exercise Here, Barbarian!

Gorm’s large body plummeted, his former harpy captor falling with him. And though the creature had been sorely wounded by Gottschalk’s stone, it still managed to shriek all the way down.

Gottschalk soon arrived at the cold wetland, shivering in the evening air. He had only rarely come here before, though he was not far from his homeland. Once a place of great importance to the Ancients, it was now accursed, promising only to drag any foolish enough to venture here down into fatal acquiescence and rot.

It was the Draining Swamp. And Gorm had hurtled down right into its muck.

The harpy landed too and screamed as its lighter body remained shallow upon the fetid waters. Gorm reached up then with his mighty hand and, to Gottschalk’s surprise, pulled the creature with him to the drier shore where he now stood.

“We must hurry!”

“Who say that? That you, Gott-Chalk?”

To his dismay, Gottschalk realized that his barbarian friend was still blinded by the harpy’s earlier attack. It seemed that it had made good on its promise to ‘Gouge out his Hateful view’, at least for now.

“It is I,” he replied finally. “Let me take a look at your wound.”

“Yes, she get me in the I.” Gorm chuckled at his own word play.

Gottschalk wiped the blood from the barbarian’s eyes. He then applied a bandage to his head to staunch further bleeding. "It looks like you’ll recover.”

The harpy scowled. “I should have ripped your eyes out! You are such a Vile Hater, I just had to Spare Us All from Your Oppression!”

Gottschalk looked at the harpy’s shattered face and wondered at how the vile creature could still speak. “Perhaps we should hit you with another rock?”

“You would censor me? CENSORSHIP! On the other hand, I’ll show my Acceptance by Acknowledging that your Presence here is Unacceptable! Get out of the Draining Swamp! You and your Hate are Not Welcome Here! Get OUT! OUT! OUT! OUT!!!!!”

Gorm ignored the harpy and began to stretch his aching arms and legs. Though his vision wasn’t fully cleared yet, he could sense that the vile she-creature was still staring at him. “Leave me alone. Me not bothering anyone. Me have right to stay.” He stretched his arms and legs again.

“You and your False Statements!” replied the harpy. “You have No Right to Exercise Here, Barbarian!”

The creature then focused on Gorm more intently. Gottschalk realized that it must have been trying to steal his voice again. Moving quickly, he snatched the harpy from Gorm and thrust it back beneath the swamp water. Angry bubbles gurgled up as the submerged creature screamed.

After a few moments, Gorm shook his head. “Small monster not steal my voice- why you steal its?”

Gottschalk grudgingly pulled the harpy back up. It spit out water and gasped for air, but then feebly tried to claw him. Gottschalk dropped the creature back into the water, where it floated again. Gorm had his axe out now and glared at the harpy menacingly, indicating what will happen next if it tried any more attacks.

“It’s not Fair!” the harpy whined.

Gottschalk laughed. “You’re not much of a bird-woman or even a fish-woman. Even worse, you’re just another Equalitarian hypocrite- far from fair!”

“Yeah!” exclaimed Gorm, beginning to get the joke. “You like using claws so much, maybe you should be cat-lady?”

“How DARE YOU!” shrieked the harpy. “I am a Commissar of High Standing in Helltowne!”

“Good,” said Gottschalk with a menacing grin that even took the harpy aback. “Then you have much you can tell us.”





Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Hacks of Gorm, Part XI: Small Monsters Steal Voice

The day grew late as the duo trudged down the mountain path out of Dinglesfuhr. Despite the increasing winds and chillier air, they knew it was best now to leave this land.

Between all the cultists and the goblins and the Helltowners, it was obvious that it was lost. Despair welled up in Gottschalk then, knowing that he might never see his homeland again.

Noticing the look on his face, Gorm put his mighty barbarian hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Don’t worry Gott-chalk, now we go to save Narq-... we go to Narq-... we go to Frankish lands now.”

Gottschalk nodded back. He was hopeful that not all the lands in the Vale had been overrun by inhumans and tyrants.

He was also glad that Esservassa was no longer with them. The one-handed woman was just as lost as Dinglesfuhr, wholly given in to the mad belief that letting others destroy your land and exterminate your people is a reasonable way to ‘Make Amends’, even for some apparent misdeeds by one’s country, nearly a century ago. Last they had seen her, she was heading to the Darkastle, jabbering about being reunited with her cult leader again.

Suddenly, something flew over them, but it was no natural bird. The creature looked like a vulture, though almost as large as Gorm. It might be common for the Vale, except for one feature: its head was that of a deranged woman!

Gottschalk dove for cover as the thing raked at Gorm’s head. The large barbarian looked up at it blankly, only readjusting his mullet as it passed.

“Gorm: we need to fight it! It looks like a harpy!”

“It only bird! Who fights bird with woman’s head? It small monster!”

The harpy came again. They caught a glimpse of a collar around its neck: it was a hammer and sickle device within an inverted pentagram- the sign of Helltowne!

It swooped at Gorm who was still standing upright and now laughing. That soon changed. The creature gored its talons into his face, causing blood to erupt from around his eyes, and lifted him up into the air. It then shifted its flight path again, released its grip, and let Gorm collide with a tree.

Gottschalk finally got the nerve to stand up then, looking for something to throw at the harpy. And to his relief, Gorm rose too, though the barbarian seemed blinded from the copious blood pouring from his face.

“Ow. Me no like small monster.”

The harpy dodged a rock that Gottschalk had found and began to soar towards Gorm again.

“Look out!” said Gottschalk. “It’s-”

But then he could not speak, the harpy turned its head and stared into his eyes. “There is no room for your Hating Words here!” it shrieked. “And I have the right to rip out the Hating eyes of anyone I wish. You will Oppress no longer, Hate-sayer and Hate-looker!”

As much as he would have liked to challenge the creature’s obvious tyranny and hypocrisy, Gottschalk could not reply. A great fear had come over him, preventing any words from forming upon his lips.

Gorm had less need for words, for when the harpy grabbed and lifted him up again, he only roared. His mighty yell echoed upon the path and trees, the rocks and mountains, even all the way back to Dinglesfuhr it seemed.

It was apparently too much for even a harpy of Helltowne to bear.

The creature shrieked and tried to release Gorm again, but he only grasped its foul talons to remain aloft. The bleeding around his eyes diminished somewhat.

 “Me got you now! Me not be quiet, you not rip out my sight!”

“Your Intolerance will not be Tolerated!” screamed the harpy. “I will quash your Hateful tongue and gouge out your Hateful view!”

It headed towards a cliff with Gorm still grasping its talons. Though the barbarian was mighty, Gottschalk doubted that he would survive his next fall. He struggled to speak, to coax the creature back, but couldn’t. The fear had become dread, dread that whatever he said would be twisted, turned back against him, and used for his own destruction.

The harpy’s voice was within his mind now, echoing dire warnings to remain silent. But then Gorm’s words came to him too:

“Me not be quiet!”

Gottschalk began to roar and, though his lungs weren’t nearly as mighty as Gorm’s, the harpy circled back, a look of distinct spite upon its face.

“Silence! I’m going to snatch you and lock you up, Hater! All your friends will know what a Horrible One you are then! How could you Defile such a free land as this with your Speech! Do you know what they do to those who make Hating Words in Helltowne?” The harpy now had a look of wicked glee.

But he would have no more of it. “You’re the one who hates! You’re the tyrant!” roared Gottschalk and he threw another rock at the harpy. This one struck true, shattering its face.

Its body dropped immediately, hurtling down with Gorm spinning too. Gottschalk ran forward in horror, terrified that Gorm would fall to his death. But then he realized where he was falling to. The landing would be soft, but perilous.

Gottschalk took off down the road to catch up to his friend.

Gorm had fallen into the Draining Swamp.



Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Hacks of Gorm, Part X: Tidings of Lands Fallen

The stinging chill of winter clung to Gottschalk’s bones, causing him to curse and pull his cloak about him more tightly. Gorm, only clad in barbarian overalls, laughed and clapped him on the back, the force of it nearly knocking the smaller man over.

“Come on. It not that bad, Gott-chalk!”

Gottschalk smiled meekly at his friend, but then turned and frowned: Esservassa was still with them.

“Why didn’t you go with your goblin friends? You never did tell me why they can have borders and nations, but we cannot.”

The blue-haired, one-handed cultist glared at him and raised her middle finger. Cultists rarely had a response when their warped ideology was shown to be false. And since Gorm took her wine bottle away, her only recourse now was hostility.

“Gott-chalk make valid point. You should cheer up, Kalla. At least goblins not attack you again!”

Esservassa winced at the statement and turned her gaze to the ground. Whether it was from Gorm’s use of her old name or from memory of the goblins’ many outrages, her harshness seemed to turn to dismay.

The trio tramped further down the mountain trail and the Fjord shone below to the east in the cold afternoon sun. Other lands, Caelum Mount, Monjaksen, and even Narquay further south, shone to the west. Before them, but still miles ahead, they caught a glimpse of ruined Dinglesfuhr through cedars and barren oaks.

“And you should be happy, Kalla. We soon help save Dingle-furry-ones at Wilbur-grade from goblins invaders! You like helping people, right?”

At that, Esservassa’s dismay turned back to anger.

* * *

The sun hung lower now in the winter sky, casting long shadows upon the many broken Platzhauses here. The stench of smoke and tragic death still filled the air.

“Why would we need to come back? I thought you were trying to leave this place?”

Gottschalk glared at the woman’s statement, but knew enough to keep his voice down. “I thought you loved being closer to your goblin friends? We’re doing what we can to help anyone left in Dinglesfuhr- anyone who wants to be saved.

Esservassa glared back, but had no response. She looked around nervously.

Gorm came up then, showing a surprising degree of stealth for one so large and unrefined. A blueshirt and a black hat, one soldier and one officer of Mauriatown, accompanied him. Esservassa looked ready to run.

“We were about to make attack, but most goblins already move on to Narquay!” Gorm kicked a pile of debris in frustration.

The blueshirt seemed more interested in Esservassa and her obvious cult garb. Her group was the ones primarily responsible for letting all the goblins and other invaders in.

The black hat, who Gottschalk now recognized as Captain Schnitt, put up his hand though. “We may need her alive, sergeant. Let’s hold off on the execution for now.”

Esservassa started to slink off, but Gorm was quicker and grabbed her arm. She feebly tried to bat away the large barbarian with her remaining stump, the same that once held her hand- the hand that she had been forced to give away to goblins by the very cult she still followed.

“Me thought you like Maurians? You really seem to like their wine bottles!”

Suddenly, there was an inhuman shriek: a gang of grey-skinned humanoids had burst from a ruined platzhaus! Despite his shock, Gottschalk noticed that some even wore the traditional garb of Dinglesfuhr, ill-fitting of course, but still a testament to the horror of having his people killed off and replaced.

Gorm reacted quickly and drew his great axe. The Maurians made ready their weapons too. And just as Gottschalk got out his miner’s pick, they were upon them.

The humans shot and fired and hacked at the inhumans. Many goblins fell, yet still more came. Gottschalk ducked one’s crude spear to only be nearly decapitated by another’s rusted saber. Luckily, Captain Schnitt had intervened and punched the foul creature in the nose. Gorm and the blueshirt finished them both off then with great axe and a crossbow bolt.

With a moment to spare, the four backed up to find a vantage point upon a ruined pedestal.

Gottschalk breathed heavily, spotting even more throngs of goblins in the distance. “I thought you said that most had gone to Narquay?”

Gorm shrugged. “Most did!”

Now standing fully upon the pedestal, they saw the city center in the distance. New red flags were being raised and the rainbow banners that had welcomed the ‘New Friends’ into Dinglesfuhr were being torn down. It was now clear to even Gorm that all the talk of the cult that Esservassa belonged to, their cries for 'Love’ and ‘Acceptance’, were merely lies to cause this city’s fall.

“Where she go?” said Gorm looking around quickly.

“She left us,” replied Gottschalk grimly. “It seems that she would prefer to have others deal with the goblin disasters that she and her cult had caused.”

Captain Schnitt turned to Gottschalk and nodded. “And Narquay may be next. The Franks there are working to mount a defense.”

Gottschalk hoped that they would. And he also hoped that cultists like Esservassa were not active in that land, as well.

Because if they were, then Narquay might be doomed too.





Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Hacks of Gorm, Part IX: Endless Goblins!

The sun stretched higher, sending bright rays down upon the mountainside. It was just past noon.

“Food time is now, Gott-chalk!”

The former salt mine captain glanced over at his large, barbarian friend. “We still have some rations that the Maurians gave us.”

Gorm shook his head. “Me want REAL LUNCH!”

Well, at least he seems to have forgotten that demon-man that espoused those bizarre ideas about gender and decorum, thought Gottschalk. He wondered too what had happened to the one who had summoned him. Even though she was an insane anti-human cultist, he still felt a little protective of her.

Gorm stopped and studied Gottschalk. His focus narrowed upon the side of his head.

“You sad because you need good haircut?” He raised his weapon in a gesture of offering.

Gottschalk quickly shook his head, trying not to stare at the huge axe in Gorm’s hands or the strange mullet on his head. “No... I was thinking about Esservassa...”

Gorm winced at the sound of her Cult Name, though it did distract him from his barber-barbarian offer. “Me miss Kalla too. Now we have lunch.”

No sooner had Gottschalk unslung his pack though when an inhuman cry echoed from down the mountain. Gorm rushed over to the ledge and gasped.

“I found Kalla!”

* * *

Gorm tried to count the number on his mighty barbarian fingers, but gave up once he got to eight.

“They endless! Endless goblins!”

Gottschalk looked down too and spied over a hundred of them, all of the grey type and many bearing some sort of skull device. They marched both on the trail and through the woods, defecating and stabbing the vegetation with their primitive spears. And he also saw what Gorm had indicated at first: Esservassa stood on an opposite ledge, looking down at the goblins too, her blue-dyed hair fluttering in the winter breeze.

“NO NATIONS! NO NATIONS! NO BORDERS OR RESISTATIONS!”

She noticed Gorm and Gottschalk then and smiled cruelly. She repeated her shouts down to the goblins and cheered.

Gorm looked at her innocently and offered some food from Gottschalk’s pack.

“AND NO, I WON’T EAT YOUR RATIONS!”

Gottschalk was amazed that Esservassa could continue to be so foolish. Didn’t she realize that the goblins had come to pillage and despoil even humans like her? Didn’t a band of them even attack her last night?

“Why won’t you yell that in the goblin lands? They have nations and borders, why can’t we?”

Esservassa glared back at Gottschalk. She waved her wine bottle at him menacingly. The goblins simply marched on, ignoring the humans up above. More came, some now even had hides of other colors and wore different devices. They did seem endless, and they were heading for human lands.

Despite himself, Gottschalk’s sorrow began to overtake him. Did humans not have a chance? There were so many, and with traitorous cultists like Esservassa throwing open the gates that had so far kept them out, it seemed that they would snuff out humanity by the very press of their masses.

Not understanding, Gorm put a reassuring barbarian hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Don’t be sad, Gott-chalk, we found Kalla!”

Gottschalk smiled and pulled himself together. Esservassa began to shout her Cult Edicts and cheer on the goblins again. “Perhaps throwing her down to them would slow them?”

Gorm stared at Gottschalk for a moment and then smiled. “Silly Gott-chalk, silly, silly Gott-chalk. We can’t reach Kalla. But...”

Gorm’s brow furrowed and he placed his mighty fist below his mighty chin for a moment.

“Me have idea,” he said finally. “Bring more rations.”

Gottschalk removed nearly all he had in his pack. Esservassa leaned over from her ledge to see what they were doing. She raised her fist in the air defiantly.

“NO NATIONS! NO NATIONS! NO, I WON’T EAT YOUR RATIONS!”

“They’re not for you, you stupid witch!” yelled Gottschalk.

Gorm nodded and he tossed them down upon the goblin horde. The monsters went crazy as the food and supplies landed amongst them. They dove into the small pile, but as it was quickly taken, the others who could not pillage grew visibly angry.

Those goblins screamed and began to form into subgroups, some based on their hide colors; others by what type of device they bore. Then, sooner than one would imagine, they were at each other’s throats, stabbing and biting, kicking and stomping with murderous intensity.

Gottschalk wasn’t sure whether that sight was more reassuring or the look on Esservassa’s face. The woman shrieked and railed against the violence below, imploring the inhumans to focus their wrath on humans instead.

But it was no use: the goblins were fighting each other now. And even if this fight was put down, their endless numbers had been weakened. Their endless numbers were far from monolithic.

And in that understanding, Gottschalk realized that humans had a chance. They must. Because if goblins have a right to have nations, then so do we.